Percutaneous cholecystostomy for the treatment of acute cholecystitis in the critically ill and elderly

JCM Li, DWH Lee, CW Lai, ACN Li, DW Chu, ACW Chan
Department of Surgery, North District Hospital, New Territories East Cluster, 9 Po Kin Road, Sheung Shui, Hong Kong

OBJECTIVE. To evaluate the clinical efficacy and outcomes of percutaneous cholecystostomy as an alternative treatment option for elderly and critically ill patients who have acute cholecystitis.

PATIENTS AND METHODS. The medical records of patients who underwent emergency percutaneous cholecystostomy at the North District Hospital, Hong Kong from September 1999 to July 2002 were reviewed. Indications for the procedure, patient demographics, and other clinical details were recorded.

RESULTS. A total of 25 patients (10 male, 15 female) with a median age of 81 years (range, 39-97 years) presented with acute cholecystitis and underwent percutaneous cholecystostomy with ultrasound guidance. Two patients required emergency cholecystectomy on day 1 after the procedures because of deteriorating conditions. The rest of the patients clinically improved after drainage. There was no major periprocedural complication, and four patients had their catheter accidentally dislodged but did not require re-insertion. There were five inpatient mortalities, although the majority of these deaths were from unrelated illness. Subsequently, only six patients underwent elective cholecystectomy, one open and five laparoscopic. Two patients were offered percutaneous endoscopic
cholecystolithotripsy, one defaulted and the other could not tolerate the procedure. Eleven patients declined further intervention due to the high surgical risks, three of these patients developed biliary symptoms, one had acute cholecystitis, and the other two had cholangitis. The rest of patients had no symptoms related to the gallstones. The median follow-up period was 81 weeks (range, 27-162 weeks).

CONCLUSION. Percutaneous cholecystostomy is a viable treatment option for elderly and critically ill patients presenting with acute cholecystitis. It has a high success rate with minimal procedure-related complications. Elective cholecystostomy is the treatment of choice for low-risk patients after the initial acute cholecystitis.

Hong Kong Med J 2004;10:389-93

Key words: Cholecystectomy; Cholecystostomy

 
 
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